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Analysis and Comment (27)

From St Petersburg to Brisbane. The G20 leaders are expected to cover a lot of territory. Sergei Karpukhin/EPA/AAP

Success for the G20 Leaders' Summit is …

Suppose that on the evening of November 16, the G20 leaders release a 25-page communique with hundreds of recommendations on global health, security, climate change, human rights etc. Would this be regarded…
Treasurer Joe Hockey plans to reignite the economic reform debate early next year, but will he tackle the bigger-picture changes many economists have called for? AAP Image/Lukas Coch

The economic crisis a complacent Australia has to have

In November 1990, then treasurer Paul Keating announced that Australia was in recession – and that it was “the recession we had to have”. Today, there are growing calls for serious, structural economic…
The B20 and G20 agendas are both focused on economic growth, but Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to avoid linking climate policy to the agenda. Aman Sharma/AAP

Abbott stands alone on climate policy and economic growth

In a speech delivered at ANU in April last year, then shadow environment minister Greg Hunt looked toward Australia’s host role for the G20 during 2014. Regarding climate policy he said Australia should…
Some pain, but the nation will benefit: Hockey’s first budget. AAP/Lukas Coch

Federal budget 2014: economists react

The Abbott government has laid out its path to reach a budget surplus near the end of the decade in the face of continued below-trend growth. Stopping short of making deep cuts in the coming years, Treasurer…
The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting concluded with a growth ‘aim’ of 2% above current projections over five years. AAP/Jason Reed

G20 finance ministers agree to growth target: experts react

The G20 finance ministers, who have been meeting in Sydney this weekend, say economic grow is still below the rate needed to get people back into jobs. In a statement released at the conclusion of talks…
Treasurer Joe Hockey wants the G20 Finance Ministers to agree to hard economic growth targets, but not everyone is on the same page. Daniel Munoz/AAP

Hockey’s G20 growth targets can’t be one size fits all

Treasurer Joe Hockey this week revealed plans to push for quantitative economic growth targets from the G20 Finance Ministers, who are meeting in Sydney this weekend. But it’s unclear whether this mission…
All smiles: is this really the kind of society we want? zoomar

The happiness agenda makes for miserable policy

How happy do you feel today? How satisfied are you with your life? Do you think your life has any worth? These are the kind of questions increasingly put to survey respondents as academics and politicians…
Can - and should - the RBA intervene to lower the Australian dollar? Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Intervene or wait? The RBA faces tricky path to a lower dollar

Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens has again weighed in on the value of the Australian dollar, telling a group of economists the bank is open to the idea of intervening to bring its value down. With the…
On the hunt for rogue internet cafes. Niall Carson/PA

Is it really worth bugging? A guide to the G8

So what’s so special about this lot? Who decides which countries get to be in the gang? Can you get kicked out? How does it stack up against the G20? If spies were to listen in, would they hear anything…
The true value of art cannot be measured by economic standards. Flickr/TruShu

Game of funds: return of the culture wars?

In 2012, public debate over the value of art and culture has reignited as conservative state governments in Victoria and Queensland cut arts funding from their budgets. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s…
Robert F Kennedy thought it a mistake to equate success with what we produce. RFK Wharehouse

There’s more to good policy than increasing GDP

Economists are regularly criticised for worrying about gross domestic product (GDP) and similar measures. The classic statement of the case was by Robert F Kennedy: “Too much and too long, we seem to have…
Arguments against taxing the super rich are centred around the notion that wealth encourages investment and creates jobs. But what about the effects of income inequality? R SH

Invested interests: debunking the economic case for the one percent

In a widely anticipated forthcoming book, Edward Conard – a former Bain Capital colleague of Mitt Romney’s – has advanced the arguments that investment drives economic growth, and that deregulation and…
What would Marx (left) and Engels say about capitalism’s current predicament? Marcio Cabral de Moura

Marxism versus the mainstream: rethinking the economic crisis

The current economic crisis has renewed interest in alternative economic ideas. Most conspicuously, Keynesianism has returned from the margins. Unfortunately, particularly in Europe, policymakers quickly…
Policy or populism? Wayne Swan may be locking himself into a misguided stance on returning to surplus. AAP

Why is Wayne Swan locking himself into a return to surplus?

It is just possible that the Federal Government’s public statements about the need to get back, at all costs, to a budget surplus for the 2012-13 year are based on a grim view of the intelligence of the…
Joint Nobel Prize in Economics winners Christopher Sims and Thomas Sargent have contributed a body of work over decades. AAP

Economists' lifetime of work honoured with Nobel prize

Princeton University professor Christopher Sims and New York University economist Thomas Sargent have been jointly named the 2011 winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics (or, for the purists, the Sveriges…
Big sporting events often make a loss, but the locals still enjoy the party. AFP/Franck Fife

What will the Rugby World Cup be worth to New Zealand?

RUGBY WORLD CUP – In the latest of The Conversation’s series on the Rugby World Cup, Massey University’s Sam Richardson looks at the costs and benefits to the host country New Zealand. New Zealand has…
Planting the idea: Opposition Leader Tony Abbott opposes a carbon tax. AAP Image/Julian Smith

Australia should delay a carbon tax until the rest of the world acts

The big question about the carbon tax is not whether it’s a good or a bad idea in theory. The major issue is whether it makes sense for Australia to implement it at a time of great uncertainty, both in…
Boom to bailout: Ireland’s economic implosion shows the consequences of unfettered policy. AAP

Why it pays to believe economists

This year’s Economic Society of Australia conference saw a range of strong views expressed on what Australian policy makers have managed to get broadly right (carbon tax – hurrah!) and wrong (NBN – boo…
Treasury Secretary Dr Martin Parkinson has said boosting Australia’s productivity is essential. AAP

Act on productivity now or see decades of reform go to waste

In his address to the Economic and Social Outlook Conference last week, Treasury Secretary Dr Martin Parkinson called for a renewed focus on boosting Australia’s falling productivity to ensure living standards…
Good financial inclusion measures will protect consumers from predatory lenders. Flickr/rinkjustice

Giving credit where it’s due will ensure financial inclusion

The Australian government has begun to focus on the issue of financial inclusion, as reflected by an allocation of $60.6 million in this year’s federal budget. This follows earlier government support for…

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